Allow me to introduce my all-time favorite training behavior: the subtle but mighty Hand Target! While one of the lesser-used techniques among owners, Hand Targeting has so many practical applications that it is well worth teaching it to your dog. Rather than explain it in writing, watch this video to see Hand Targeting in action.
Hand Targeting teaches your dog to touch his nose to your outstretched hand. “Why on earth would I want to do such a thing,” you ask? Once your dog can come to you and “boop” your hand, the possibilities for polite indoor and outdoor behavior are endless. For instance:
Remember to reward your dog for a job well done. Hand Targeting in the presence of a distraction is hard work, so pay him for his efforts accordingly. In future posts and the upcoming BKLN Manners™ book, I will outline detailed instructions for Hand Targeting for specific situations, as well as discuss how and when to use rewards when training. Stay tuned!
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY.